Mitigate mildew inside the closet

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

Baby brain is something we have come to accept as a part of motherhood. It is associated with forgetfulness and a struggle to think clearly. Some scholars argue that it is not the biological act of pregnancy or child delivery that causes baby brain. Instead, they say it may be the social structures mitigating the process. In any case, whether from physiological factors or things like sleep deprivation, I have often found myself forgetting simple things and asking for help more than usual.

Such was the case the other night, as I brainstormed story ideas for this column. My mind went blank, staring at a white document on my laptop. I turned to my husband for help. He jumped eagerly on the chance to contribute, suggesting I follow a spring-cleaning theme. Soon, we were bouncing ideas back and forth, and before we knew it, had come up with plenty of topics for the month — all of which focus on an aspect of spring cleaning. First up: tackling the mildew in your closets.

The combination of older homes and year-round humidity creates a perfect environment for mold and mildew to thrive in closets. Luckily, there are many ways to confront the problem and prevent it from happening again.

First, find it

Look for clusters of mold or mildew on the walls. These are usually a dark color, like black, brown or green.

Next, remove it

Bleach can be very effective at removing mold and mildew. In a spray bottle, mix a couple of tablespoons of bleach with lukewarm water. Spray directly onto the affected areas, then wipe clean with a rag.

Keep it at bay

Install moisture-absorbing items such as silica gel, baking soda or moisture-absorbing products like hanging bags. Run a dehumidifier from time to time. Look for those that are specially designed for closets.

Encourage circulation

Keep clothes out of plastic bags, which can retain moisture. Clean the closet regularly, moving the clothes out, dusting and vacuuming. You may also consider switching out your closet doors to louvered varieties. Run a fan periodically to allow fresh air to circulate throughout.

When it comes to laundry, remember that mold can feed on the dirt of your soiled clothes. Resist the urge to let it go for long periods of time without washing, and keep them as clean as possible. Allow them to dry completely before putting them away. When hanging your clothes, leave some space between the hangers to allow the air to move around them.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefi xisinhawaii@gmail.com.